Mile 1.4 - Arrive at a
four way intersection. The yellow blazed Scothorn Gap Trail turns left, and directly ahead is the orange blazed Massanutten
Trail which you will use to return. To the right is the Massanutten
Connector Trail. Turn left staying on the Scothorn Gap Trail. The trail gradually rises and passes a small clearing then ends at the intersection of the blue blazed Gap Creek Trail.
Mile 3.9 - Turn left downhill on the blue blazed Gap Creek Trail (steep) where the blue blazed trail ends at the intersection with the orange blazed Massanutten Trail. Directly across the run is a large campsite suitable for multiple tents.
Mile 4.4 - Turn right upstream on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail for 1.8 miles, then the trail makes two long switchbacks becoming steeper and crests Middle Mountain at the intersection with the unofficial pink blazed Strickler Knob Trail.
Mile 6.5 - Descend on the orange blazed trail back to the intersection with the yellow blazed Scothorn Gap Trail where the orange trail turns left.
Mile 7.1 - Continue straight on the yellow blazed Scothorn Gap trail past the pond retracing your route back down to the Scothorn Gap parking area on Crisman Hollow Rd.
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Reviews For The Duncan Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
Gorgeous Fall day to hike this trail. The drive from Vienna Metro Station via I-66 and down I-81 was a breeze. Navigating route 211 through New Market, VA was easy as well. However, when going up the hill, the sign for Crisman Hollow Road on the left side of the road is a "blink and you'll miss it" entry point. Once driving onto Crisman Hollow Road, it is winding and paved road for a mile and a half before turning into a dirt road. The road itself is barely large enough for 2 cars so be cautious when driving on the road.
The Scothorn Gap Parking Area holds up to 10 cars and the lot was full by the time we arrived, so we parked on the side of the road and took our chances that no one would hit my car. We followed the trail in accordance to the HikingUpward map. The incline 20-minutes into the hike (on the first segment of the Scothorn Gap Trail) was slightly challenging as it rarely plateaued enough to catch your breath. The second segment of Scothorn Gap Trail up until the Gap Creek Trail was much more manageable. The incline from the start of the Gap Creek Trail to the Duncan Knob Summit was fun, but the real test came when finagling through the lengthy rock scramble. Believe me, the rock scramble got more challenging as the elevation progressed. I highly recommend going slow over the boulders. The view from the rock outcrop at the summit was breathtaking.
The downhill portion of the Gap Creek Trail, containing a few switchbacks, could be a little claustrophobic as misplaced footing could lead to tumbling down the mountainside. The Massanutten Trail offers some incline and flat sections, plus there is a brief switchback as you get closer back to the Scothorn Gap Trail.
Overall, this is a great hike. Perfect for a dry Fall day. I would avoid this hike if it going to rain as the rocks will be rather slippery. Not sure if this hike is a good hike to do in the Spring or Summer given that the trails are narrow and hikers could easily come into contact with ticks.
Date of Hike: Saturday, June 25, 2016
Originally planned to hike out the Scothorn Gap trail and up the blue Gap Creek to camp out on the ridge just below Duncan Knob. I've hiked the Duncan Knob Hollow trail loop previously in the winter and it's great, but this is a muddy boggy mess in the spring/summer. The initial ascent was very wet and you'll be taking your shoes off to cross Passage Creek. Lots of ticks on the way up to the the first four way intersection, so bring bug spray and/or wear pants tucked into socks.
Started down the Scothorn Gap trail after the four way intersection and ended up turning around due to the amount of water on the path. At least 6-7 inches in some areas that are unavoidable. Luckily I knew that there are a couple camping spots out on Strickler Knob, so we turned around and hiked up the Massanutten trail taking the red/pink knob trail on top of the ridge. Overall it ended up being a great overnight trip and we got a great campsite with an amazing view of the Shenandoah River Valley.
I won't be back out here anytime soon. This is certainly a 4-5 star trail in the fall/winter, but i'd avoid in spring/summer. Especially with all the recent rain.
Date of Hike: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Duncan knob is really nice. Climbing up rocks was fun. But there were many ticks, my wife and I found 14 ticks during hiking. We had to check often and we always found a couple ticks. Also there were a lot of muddy places.
Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Truly lovely views from the summit, but I wish I had heeded the warning of the person below who hiked in May 2014 and mentioned how muddy it was! The trail was quite boggy and buggy, which took away from some of the enjoyment. Overall it was a nice hike, but not one I'd plan to repeat, even in a different season.
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 09, 2016
I hiked this on a very windy April Saturday with 10 members of Central Virginia Trailblazers as part of our yearlong "Knobsession" series of hikes. We didn't have any trouble navigating the trail, but we did get a little confused near the rock scramble at the base of Duncan Knob. Apparently we missed a turn, but we got back on track and made it to the top. We were able to find a lunch spot that was protected from the wind yet still had a great view of the valley...even saw a few snowflakes. We passed only a couple of hikers the entire day. All in all a great day to be hiking.